7 Years of Marriage

1 June wedding with Hawaiian food, Lodi wine, and a hula dance

2 Caribbean cruises
10 carved coconuts collected from various vacations
1 Los Angeles home purchase
3 cars
13 costume parties thrown
2 knee surgeries
1 college ministry 
1 overseas mission project in the Middle East
4 pregnancies
2 kids
Thousands (and still counting) diapers
1 sabbatical
7 fantastic years of marriage

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake


It was Steve’s birthday last week.

Food is my love language, so I offered to make him any birthday dessert he wanted. His request was chocolate peanut butter cake, and that is why our marriage is a winner. He asks for chocolate peanut butter cake, I happily oblige, we indulge in it for days, and everyone’s happy. We ate the cake with vanilla ice cream and a rich zinfandel dessert wine (from Michael David Winery in Lodi, CA) and welcomed Steve into his mid-30’s.

And because I love you, dear readers, I will share the cake with you as well.

I rarely make layered cakes. The work of putting the layers together in a way that actually lays flat, and then frosting the entire thing is usually beyond my patience level. But for this cake, it was totally worth it. The cake itself is my go-to chocolate cake (making a previous appearance here). The peanut butter frosting is smooth and a little fluffy, essentially making this the cake version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. If you find yourself in need of a good, crowd-pleasing birthday (or other celebratory event) dessert, might I suggest this?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Cake from All Recipes, frosting from The Cake Mix Doctor

print this recipe

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut butter frosting:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

For frosting:
Place peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine, add the confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well-combined, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend in up to 1 tablespoon milk if the frosting seems too stiff. Frost cake immediately.

Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 1 1/2 cups icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. Store cake in fridge. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

My Life In Verbs

This is what we do late at night when we are free to be complete idiots. 

Enjoying… having my husband back from his whirlwind trip to Los Angeles. After tending to two young kids for just over 24 hours, my nerves were shot, my back hurt, I was desperate for a shower, and I decided to be eternally grateful that I have a partner in this parenting business!

Wanting… clothes that actually fit me. When we moved to Hawaii from California in June, I was 7 months pregnant, and wearing large size clothing that could double as camping tents. Now, a few months after giving birth to Alex, my body is in that transition stage of losing baby weight. Buying new clothes would be silly, since I doubt I’ll be at this same weight by the time we move back to LA in January. So that means that for now, none of my clothes fit properly. T-shirts and drawstring shorts it is!

Reading… The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Also, many, many children’s picture books with my son. Every Tuesday we run with the jogging stroller to our nearby library, and stock up on books. Our current favorites are The Berenstein Bear books and anything by Mo Willems.

Considering… the next several years of my life. What is most important to me? What is going to best nurture my marriage, our family, and my spiritual journey? Everything is very open-ended right now, and that is both thrilling and terrifying.

Loving… my little daughter’s coos and smiles, the October Unprocessed Challenge at Eating Rules, watching the Giants play in the World Series (did I really just say that?!), introducing Aaron to classic Disney films like The Littler Mermaid, and voting by mail (and thereby lots of time to think through California’s endless list of convoluted, confusing measures).

So what have you been up to recently? 
Share a verb or two of your own in the comments.